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mom struggles

Never underestimate the urge to RUN....

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Never underestimate the urge to RUN....

I have been working at my new career now for about two and a half months now. Do I feel like running away at times? Sure do! Do I get sick of being so needy and asking so many questions? Yip. Do I wish I could start feeling more confident, sure of myself, and balanced? Of course. But when you start something new there is never that feeling. In fact the feeling of drowning and wanting to kick to the surface is a more accurate account of how it feels to start.  In fact I have had this feeling several times in my life before. I remember this feeling when I started to stay home with my darling children. I used to explain the feeling of running after my life instead of with my life. I eventually got used to the feeling, found myself as a mom, and rested in the understanding that being in control was not what life was all about. But now that I have that feeling all over again I am still struggling with the strong desire to run knowing full well I won't. 

What do you do with the feeling of wanting to run and not knowing where you would even run too? You stay. That's what you do. You acknowledge it, pat yourself on the back, and then tell yourself you can do it. You remind yourself that in time the strong feeling to run will leave. You remind yourself that everyone feels it. You take deep cooling breaths and you trust that God has you right where you are suppose to be. At times, leaning into the feeling is best because it reminds you how difficult it is to do something new and how dependent we are on comfort. Comfort is of high concern to the human. Discomfort makes us all want to run. Living in the tension of discomfort takes mental strength. We can't live on auto pilot. Maybe that is what we miss. Living less conscience of our life. Living in the tension of discomfort brings change. Usually the change is not around us but inside of us. I wish growing was more comfortable. I wish changing felt good and right. I wish my mind did not remember "the good old days" before the tension started. I wish my mind would work with the change better. But since my my mind does not always choose the right decisions I have to direct it to follow along with the discomfort. 

Today, if you are with me feeling the tension of discomfort, join me in directing your mind to trusting in the process and trusting in God. Remind yourself that change comes at a price that is always worth paying but is easy to talk yourself out of. Give yourself lots of grace because during these times only you can give yourself a feeling of comfort. Dig deep. Find who you are under pressure. And sit back and enjoy the ride if you can. That is where I am today. Trying my hardest to enjoy the movement of my mind. Allowing myself to move in a new direction and opening my mind up to change. Directing my thoughts with intentional awareness and creating new confidence.  Be brave little solider. This is what life is made of...... 

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Tidying up....

I got this cool artwork when I was in Seattle this summer. It's a favorite of mine. After the boys started school this year and I began the paperwork and the long process of waiting for the board to move my counseling licensure through, I thought purging items in my house would keep me busy. I was not expecting it to take me months and I was not expecting it to be as good for me as it was! I made the crazy goal of going through every single cabinet and closet and purging, organizing, and re-establishing some sort of order in the house. I had read the book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and I wanted to try it for myself. It felt like a big goal when I started but it became more like therapy in the end. God met me in my mess and gave me days full of love, grace and insight. Let me explain.

As parenting, as I knew it, came to an end, I began to look at the job I had done and question if I had been a good enough parent. From this perspective I saw all the holes that existed in my parenting. All the times I wish I could have gone back in time and correct what went wrong. I began to feel burdened with the fact that there was nothing I could do about the past. And I began to believe that I had done my best but even my best had not felt good enough. I struggled with this thought for months maybe even years. As I began to purge and clean out my closets I decided to put together a box for each kid with little personal things from their childhood. I would spend a day in one closet or one area. I would not put music on but rather I would go through all of my items and ask myself if it brought me happiness at this present moment. If the answer was no I then thanked God for what the item represented and acknowledged the memory. I then would decide to store it in one of the kids boxes or get rid of it. Each and every item held in my hands. Each item examined, considered, and carefully placed. 

As I went through the house God walked me through my life as a mom. He filled me with love and grace. I began to gain deep insight to the fact that I had been the exact parent God had created me to be. God began to reveal to me that the holes in my parenting were intentionally created for each of my children. He revealed that those parenting holes would be the places that His strength and love would shine through to each child giving them their own journey to Him. He reminded me that I was never created to be my children's God but that I had been created to be imperfect. I began to see how badly I had wanted to be perfect at mothering. I began to identify areas where I needed to trust rather than fix or control. I began to see that each child had to do their own journeying to make sense of their childhood. And I began to accept that being imperfect was actually part of the beautiful plan. Love was really the only perfect part of my parenting.

Then something amazing happened. God filled me with so much love and grace and I could almost feel him say to me, "Good job! You did exactly what I asked you to do with MY children. I will take it from here." As I packed each box with great love I prayed for each of my beautiful children and thanked God for using me to mother them during their childhood. Sometimes, I would just sit with the memory of an item that took me to a special moment of time with a particular child.  I would let the memory float through my mind and I would intentionally give the memory a treasured place in my heart. Sometimes I cried, sometimes I would smile, and many times I would just be filled with deep love. Isn't it funny how motherhood changes a life? I acknowledged how changed I was after this amazing journey of raising children. I met myself in my messy closets. I accepted my new self. I acknowledged my new life as a mother to grown adult children and in my mind I bowed out vowing to be a mom that would be more in the background. I wrote a note to each child reminding them of my deep love and appreciation for them and placed it in their box. And I physically started to shift my mind into the new stage of life I was entering. I did this all at a pace that felt comforting to me. I felt in control of the moment and gave the feelings and thoughts room to just BE. 

I questioned God saying, "what could I ever do with more purpose than raising these children?" I felt Him say with gentleness, "everything has purpose!" I thought about that for days as I was going through more closets and drawers. I would often say, "everything has purpose?" And I would always feel a gentle, "yes" to the question every time I asked. As I have finally come to the end of my purging two and a half months later I get it. EVERYTHING has purpose!! Every stage of life has much meaning and much to do. Every time we move to another stage there is always fear that we will not be as good as the last stage or maybe there is regret. But the great insight is that EVERYTHING has purpose, meaning, and much to teach. 

As I leave the stage of journeying back over the last 23 years I am filled with great appreciation that I survived, that I grew up, and that I found myself. I learned how to give myself grace, I learned to love another deeper than I loved myself, and I learned that from this moment forward everything will continue to have purpose! I never thought I would find such great insights by cleaning my closets.                         I think I am ready to turn 50....  

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Jefferson starts college...

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Jefferson starts college...

Jefferson is such a gamer he let me snap this picture of him as he was heading off to his first day at film school. I love this kid! He is passionate and fun to be with. I love that he knows what he wants to do with his life and is willing to work hard at making it become a reality. He headed off to school with his laptop and a brain full of ideas. It is the first time he has ever gone to school and not taken Peter with him. His school life use to consist of getting Peter out of the car and into his wheelchair every time he came to school and left school. Now it's just him. He said to me the other day that he never realized how easy it is to just jump out of the car on your own and get to class. I am happy for him. I am thankful Jefferson is staying around for the next couple of years. I am not ready to send him away. He and I have a little catching up to do after the teenage years. He has become an insightful interesting young adult and I want to spend the time I can with him.

Don't you just hate that by the time the kids become insightful interesting young adults they leave? This time I know it will come so I am much more intentional with my time with him. 

I have continued to clean out all my closets and drawers. IT IS SO HARD! But it got me thinking. I started questioning in my life if at times I have allowed my disorganization to get out of control because I did not feel worthy. I know that sounds strange but at different stages of my life I have struggled feeling worthy. I think we all do. I have faced difficulties in life and without a conscious thought of unworthiness it has still crept into my thinking. When deep struggles have come my way my first thought usually is, "why would I think it would ever go any other way?" Even small thoughts like these need to come under control in our life. It takes so much time and insight to even pull out thoughts that are holding you back. To acknowledge the thought before it becomes a belief is the key. Not sure I have been able to do that every time but as I age I am becoming more aware of the power small thoughts have in forming beliefs. Small thoughts create big beliefs about ourselves and others. Lately every time I finish a big closet or drawer I step back and say out loud, "You are worthy of order to your chaos." Today think of areas in your life where you may not be feeling worthy of something good for you. And try with intention to surrender the thought to God.  

 

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Working Hard Everyday...

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Working Hard Everyday...

We work everyday with Diesel. We take him everywhere. Peter and Diesel have developed so much during the last few weeks. It has been wonderful to see the relationship between these two grow! Peter has learned to take good ownership of Diesel. He is always on top of Diesels behavior and is always working hard to keep Diesel up on all his training. After all the work it was to get Diesel I am very satisfied with how things have been working out. I am beginning to believe that this was the right choice for Peter. He has grown so much just in the last month by having the responsibility of Diesel. 

In this picture we are at Ikea. Diesel is good at keeping the pace of Peter’s wheelchair and has done well at sitting down while Peter is looking at something. He goes under the table when we go out to a meal and he waits for his commands. I think the largest challenge right now is exercising him enough. That may always be the challenge for Peter. I am working at getting a treadmill so that we can put him on that for exercise especially during the hot summer months.  

As of now Peter feels he is ready to take Diesel to college with him. Peter and Diesel have been taking practice trips down to the school every few days. All of that has been working well. I think we just may be ready for school to start over here.

I can hardly believe the boys will be starting college in a couple of weeks! It is strange not having high schooler’s anymore! I felt like high school years lasted a long time. When I added it up I was at Horizon High School for 9 years (well I had an off year in there but it was always on my mind). And now it is all finished. My guess is that I will never walk into that school again. That feels weird too. It is so strange closing the different chapters of raising your children. The chapters of raising your children seem as if they will be open forever when you are in the middle of it but then all of a sudden it is over and the chapter is closing.  

Finding your footing at the end of parenting takes some intentional work. I know I have blogged several times about this and to be honest I’m not sure I have my legs yet. I keep thinking I should. But I don’t. Sometimes I worry I never will. I know I will never stay the same in life and I know things will work the way they are suppose to work out but there are times I wonder if I will get some sort of life back. I think I always feel this a bit after summer break. All summer I focus on pushing the kids to become more independent. I become very focused on spending time with them and developing them as individuals but in the process I lose myself a bit. Maybe that is what I am feeling (in the background right now Peter is watching a cartoon, one that I feel like I have heard in the background of my life for 20 some years).   

I have been working hard at creating a new mindset as my nest begins to empty. I am trying so hard to figure out how to get rid of some of my responsibilities with Peter so that I am able to go back to work. I can only picture myself working part time as of now but I am trying to figure out the best solution. I guess only time will tell. I desire to remain open to whatever it is that God purposes for my life. I pray that my mind and spirit will be flexible and able to move in the direction I am called. I pray that I will not be caught up in what I plan and desire but rather open myself to whatever it is God plans. I pray my desire to be rigid in my thinking will decrease and that I will be open instead to various possibilities.    

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Husbands

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Husbands

Husbands take a lot of prayer, well for that matter so do wives. This is a picture of Jeff and I on our 26th wedding anniversary.  We had to attend a fund-raiser that night and Jessi and Jason came with us. Afterwards we all went to dinner. That was about all we did for our big celebration this year. I have realized that these years are difficult on a marriage. They are burdensome financially and are harder to pull out alone than when the kids were all small. I would have never thought that would be the case. I always just figured by the time we got all the way to our 26th wedding anniversary we would have no problem stepping out into wonderful celebrations.

At this point Jeff and I are both trying to find our new rhythm together as a couple.  It sure looks clumsy! At times it looks like we are failing to get to a good place. We have not been just a couple for a long time. And now as we are coming back we are both older and we have a longer list of concerns. There is also some wear and tear of being together for so long. And of course there is menopause and “MANo-pause” that we both must deal with. We both react a little differently to the kids leaving the nest. We both have different thoughts on just about everything (haha! I have no idea why it would be any other way). And we both have to push ourselves to accept one another’s thoughts as different and not as wrong. I remind myself all the time there are many different ways of seeing a situation and solving a concern and none of those ways are actually wrong they are just different.

Finding a new rhythm as a couple is a process and does not come overnight. Everyone tells you when you are young to make sure you don’t stop dating each other because in the end it will just be the two of you. So you keep that in the back of your mind as you are going out once a week when the kids are young.  And then your kids become teenagers and young adults and you have sporting events, drama events, concerts, etc.  You then you gain the stress of financially raising kids and sending them to college so you each do what you can to make ends meet. You easily start to lose yourself as a couple. And by the time everyone leaves you realize you just may have to start all over again after all.

Starting over as a couple is almost like going back to the first year of marriage where you are starting with all new rules and regulations for relationship but this time you each have established what works for YOU. “This is not working for me,” or “How on earth are we going to make this work?” becomes the new norm as a couple finding themselves. Discovering what it is that makes both of you inspired and engaged in life becomes a new quest both individually and together. Deciding to keep trying is a resolution. Never buy in on the myth that just because you have been together a long time means that it should be easier. Relationships are never meant to be easy they always require work and forgiveness.  

For Jeff and I we decided to engage ourselves into the marriage ministry at our church. We needed the accountability of facilitating a class. We needed to gain new insight, new ways of solving problems between the two of us. We never facilitate like we know what we are talking about rather we always confess we need direction just like everyone else. But each series teaches us new strategies to apply and new insights. Engaging in different classes together as a couple gives us something to do together. I think that is also the difficult part. When you are raising the kid’s “divide and conquer” becomes your survival technique. Many times you are not doing things together and actually as long as you have the kids around that works and may be necessary. But as you work to discover your new footing try to find new ways to get to know one another again. Look for ways where both of you can be engaged and where the two of you are working side by side. And then pray a lot for each other. Because this is a difficult stage of life! Remind yourself that this is a DIFFICULT stage of life, well to be honest all stages of life are difficult in their own way….

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